Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael has welcomed support from the National Farmers Union of Scotland for UK government plans to create a new adjudicator that will protect farmers and small producers in their dealings with major supermarkets.
Mr Carmichael was commenting after meeting with the President of the National Farmers Union of Scotland earlier this week.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included ongoing negotiations over the future of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, Single Farm Payments and measures to reduce the environmental impact of the agricultural sector. Mr Carmichael was meeting with the NFUS ahead of a trip to Brussels for discussions with EU fisheries officials later this week.
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:
“The Liberal Democrats have been calling for the creation of an adjudicator to protect our farmers for some years and we are now delivering in government. I know that the NFUS and other producer groups welcomed the progress that was made on this issue in the Queens speech and the legislative work underpinning the creation of the adjudicator is now underway.
“In recent years, too many farmers have experienced difficulties due to sharp practices on the part of some of their biggest customers. A number of producers have struggled locally in recent years and this new body will provide firms such as Orkney Meats with protection of a sort that simply was not available in the past.
“On the Common Agricultural Policy, there is a clear need to ensure that our agricultural sector is as environmentally efficient as possible but farmers should not be punished for failing to deliver the impossible. Changes to the current rules need to be sensible and must take account of the long term needs of the industry.
“What we ultimately need is a CAP that delivers for the taxpayer, consumers and local farmers. The current arrangements are not fit for purpose and we are now at a stage where root and branch reform is required if we are to achieve our economic and environmental goals.”